One of the primary decisions during breast augmentation is what type of implants to get. Over 95% of the patients in my Portland, Oregon private practice choose silicone implants. Silicone implants tend to feel and look more natural than saline. Also, silicone implants are less likely to show visible wrinkles or folds. Visible rippling can be an issue in thinner women who have less natural breast tissue.
Women who chose silicone implants now have the option of choosing "gummy bear" or traditional highly cohesive silicone gel implants. Most women in Portland tend to prefer the highly cohesive gel implants over gummy bear implants. The reason is because of the natural look and feel.
Gummy bear breast implants.
The term gummy bear implants typically refers to anatomically shaped breast implants that are filled with a slightly firmer silicone-gel. So do these new implants give superior results? Let's discuss the pros and cons.
Do "gummy bear" implants look better?
It seems intuitive that this teardrop shaped breast implant would give the most natural look, however this isn't actually the case. Multiple well performed research studies have demonstrated that there is no visible difference between round and so-called "gummy bear" implants. Researchers performed breast augmentation surgery using round and shaped implants. They showed postoperative photos to a group of blinded observers, including plastic surgeons. What they found was that no one can accurately tell the difference between round and shaped implants, and also no one has any preference for which implant looks better. So if no one can tell the difference, is there still a benefit to using a shaped implants?
The photos above show a natural look using round silicone implants.
All implants can rupture.
If you picture an actual gummy bear it's a solid piece of candy. Its consistency is uniform throughout. Gummy bear implants aren't constructed in this same way. They have a rubber silicone outer shell with a semisolid cohesive gel filler on the inside. It's important to know that the outer shell can still rupture. If they do rupture, the semisolid inner gel will not leak out to any significant degree. This is an important safety feature of fifth-generation highly cohesive gummy bear breast implants. However, if the outer shell ruptures they still require replacement.
Shaped implants can have draw backs.
Remember to think about natural "feel" also.
We've already discussed that shaped gummy bear implants feel slightly more firm. Their outer texture also adheres firmly to breast tissue. Both of these attributes give a less natural appearance when lying down. Smooth round silicone implants do a good job of changing their shape in any position. They tend to look more natural than a cone-shaped gummy bear implant that keeps the same shape regardless of position.
So which implant should I pick?
When you put it all together most women will get the most beautiful and natural results with a smooth round silicone implant. There may be some very special situations when a shaped implant should be used, but these are less common.
When considering breast augmentation make sure you find a board certified plastic surgeon who will take the time to answer all of your questions and explain all of your options, so that you can decide if breast augmentation is right for you.
Dr. Austin Hayes is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with offices in Portland, Seattle, and Hood River.